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Page 1

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Glaciers as Systems

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A Glacier as a System

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Glaciers are sustained
by the accumulation of
snow in their upper
reaches (accumulation
area). This photo of a
snow pit indicates one
year's accumulation of
snow (c. 6 m) in the
upper part of the
Juneau Ice field,

Page 4

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The curves of total accumulation and total balance define an
annual mass balance. The winter balance is positive and the
summer balance is negative. If the two areas between the
lines areas are equal, the annual balance is zero.

Page 5

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Inputs, Flows, Outputs
and Stores.

Page 6

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An idealised glacier with net accumulation "wedge"
above net ablation "wedge" below the equilibrium line.
Glacial flow is necessary in order to maintain equilibrium.

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Snow fields (an accumulation zone) above Mer de Glace

Page 8

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Page 9

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Ablating Ice

Page 10

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